Jesus and his disciples began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.”
What did the disciples not understand? When the Lord told them that he would be handed over to men and killed, what did they not understand? Was it the obvious? No. It was the incomprehensible.
You see, atheists say that there is a lack of evidence of God. Isn’t it obvious that there isn’t? Isn’t it obvious that there isn’t a lack of evidence of God but rather a lack of reflection by man?
For example, let’s say I went to my computer and typed the following: UR2GR82B4GO10. At first glance, you might say that these letters and numbers were randomly put together. But upon further reflection, you might actually figure out that these letters and numbers are actually in a certain order that express a certain sentiment. In fact, they may actually be a teenager's way of writing “You are too great to be forgotten”.
The Apostles understood the obvious. They understood what Jesus was telling them; that is, that He would be arrested and handed over and killed by men. The Apostles understood that. But what they did not understand is what it meant. Why? Why would the Son of God allow himself to be arrested and put to death? Why would He do that? Why not just run away?
What was the Lord communicating to His Apostles by telling them that He would die for them?
My dear friends, this is so important. Understanding this is like opening a treasure. If someone is willing to die for you, what are they telling you? Isn’t it obvious? Isn’t it obvious what God is telling you, that YOU ARE WORTH IT!
You are worth all the pain, all the fear, all the hurt, and all the suffering. You are worth my life!
Today at Mass, I asked all the fifteen-year-olds to raise their hands. There were six out of seven hundred. Most people in the congregation could not believe it. I did! I didn’t have a hard time believing that at all!!! Why? Because I just finished giving a retreat to a bunch of fifteen year olds. At a certain point in the retreat, I asked them to write down on a piece of paper what they were thinking. This is what they wrote.
- I feel like I don’t have any friends. Why do fifteen-year-olds feel like they have no friends? Answer: Because they don’t know Jesus Christ. Jesus said to his disciples, “I call you friends” (Jn 15:15). Why are our kids committing suicide? Because they don’t know Jesus Christ; they don't know the magnitude of their worth!
- I feel worthless. John wrote, “For God so loved the world that He sent His Son to save the world” (Jn 3:16). With God all things are possible (cf. Jn 15:5). We are dependent on Jesus for life, but we are also dependent on Jesus for our lives to matter. Why do our kids feel worthless? Because they don’t know Jesus Christ.
- I feel totally alone. Jesus said, “I will be with you till the end of time” (Mt 28:20). Why do our kids feel alone or abandoned? Because they don’t know Jesus Christ.
- I feel like I will never live up to my parent’s expectations. Jesus said, “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). To know Christ Jesus is to be perfect. To believe Him, to love Him, and to imitate Him is the Father’s idea of perfection.
- I don’t know who I am. Paul felt the same way, but when he changed his life he found his life and said, “It is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
The Apostles found the Lord “incomprehensible” because they were thinking not as God thinks but as men think. As they were journeying to Galilee, they were arguing along the way as to who was the greatest. The Lord sat them down and told them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
The Lord will remain hidden to me as long as my life remains hidden to me. The Lord’s words and actions will remain “incomprehensible” to me as long as I remain arrogant and obnoxious and belligerent to Him. No wonder the Lord took a child in his hands and said, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
To be a believer in the Lord requires more than just having feet. It requires humility. Eyes that see miracles and ears that hear amazing words may be enough to acknowledge and recognize someone, but it is generally not enough to understand them and love them. At least it wasn’t enough for the Apostles. They needed more, much more. They needed to witness for themselves how great God’s love for them is. And they got what they needed. They witnessed it in such an intense way that it took them years to fully comprehend it. But they did. And they continued to transmit that intense love not only by their words and sacrifices but by their own death’s as well.
To be a Christian means to be like the Son of God, who loved the world so much that He came into the world to show us for himself how much we are worth.